As is his wont, Neal opened this weekss The Week Ahead with a little rant about Arsenal, and the question marks around the starting XI for what is, on paper, one of the more fantasy-friendly Premier League matchups. In hie press conference today, Arsene Wenger tried to answer some of Neal's (and fantasy managers everywhere) concerns.
Let's see how he did.
LB - With Keiron Gibbs and Nacho Monreal both healthy and no Champions League (or cup matches of any kind) to worry about we really don't know who Wenger will prefer or whether one will start consistently.
Wenger says: Gibbs is sick and in bed. I don't know if he'll be involved or not. At the moment we don't know. We haven't seen him in the last three days.
I had Nacho Monreal on my fantasy team last time out, and now don't have any qualms about keeping him through this weekend either.
With Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, and Abou Diaby all presumably healthy you could see any of that group starting.
Wenger says: We have a little problem with Diaby but I cannot tell you more. But he is out for the weekend.
A Mikel Arteta/Aaron Ramsey double pivot then.
UPDATE: Anyone else get a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach when they read that, "We have a little problem with Diaby but I cannot tell you more."? It turns out that Diaby is out for NEARLY A YEAR with a knee injury.
The Club can confirm that Abou Diaby injured his left knee in training on Wednesday and subsequent scans have confirmed that he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament.
Following consultations with specialists, Abou will undergo surgery to repair the injury in the near future. Abou is expected to be out for around eight to nine months.
Houston, we have a little problem, indeed!
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With Bacary Sagna returning and Carl Jenkinson having played reasonably well in Sagna's absence there's no guarantee of who will start here.
With Theo Walcott out and Lukas Podolski seemingly making his way back into the starting XI there will likely be questions about which of Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain, Podolski, and Gervinho will start in any given match.
Wenger says: [Podolski and Sagna] are available.
For my money, Sagna has always started matches over Jenkinson when both have been available, so I would expect that to continue - regardless of form.
As for the front three, I would guess Podolski-Giroud-Gervinho.
Hopefully Wenger will continue his practice of showing a starting eleven when he announces his available squad and we'll know more tomorrow.